Sunday, March 23, 2008

"The existing U.S. Highway 59 right of way is more than sufficient to add additional lanes."

Officials should respond to constituents’ wants

March 23, 2008

J. E. Hollan, Victoria
The Victoria Advocate
Copyright 2008

Editor, the Advocate:

The article in the March 17 Victoria Advocate about the Trans-Texas Corridor brought up two issues I would like discussed a little further.

The first is calling it the Interstate 69/Trans-Texas Corridor project. I believe the Interstate 69 highway idea existed way before the concept of a Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC) was promoted by the governor. I’ll bet that the governor and the Texas Transportation Commission would like very much for us to connect the two.

Actually, I understand that there can be an Interstate 69 highway without it being combined with the TTC. A study by the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University has concluded that Texas could finance its highway needs without toll roads (e.g. Trans-Texas Corridor). The study was presented to the Texas Study Commission on Transportation Financing and set forth the scenarios under which roads could be financed without the need for toll roads.

The other issue is in Victoria County and about the two routes being proposed by the Texas Department of Transportation: northern route or southern route. Here, too, I am sure the governor and the highway department officials in Austin would love for Victorians to be arguing among ourselves about which route their corridor would take.

I believe that just about no one in Victoria County wants a quarter-mile wide swath cut through our county tearing up farms and ranches and disrupting or ruining some existing businesses and turned over to a consortium led by a foreign firm so we can have the privilege of paying an estimated 15 cents per mile to drive to Houston or the Rio Grande Valley.

The existing U.S. Highway 59 right of way is more than sufficient to add additional lanes if necessary to service Texas’ transportation needs well into the future.

The way to stop this massive unneeded and unwanted corridor? Write your elected representatives. They have the power to stop it, and they must do it early in the 2009 legislative session, so there will be plenty of time to override the expected veto by the governor.

© 2008, The Victoria Advocate:

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